Things your photographer will want to photograph that you should have ready in advance

The day of your wedding is finally here!  It’s that crazy time when you and all your friends and family are all getting ready.  To say this can be a chaotic scene is an understatement.  People have bags and luggage galore, shoes and bras are strewn across the room, hair stylists and make-up artists make have crafted temporary salons, bouquets are in vases of water, and all your special pieces that you want photographed are mixed in this swirling vortex of entropy.  When your photographer comes in and asks for all these different items, you can handle it one of three ways.  The most common, and the worst for the bride’s nerves, is having the bride stop what she is doing and look for these items, the next is to have a member of the bridal party (or many) look for these items and pull them together.  But today I’m here to save you tons of aggravation and frustration, and will help you get the beautiful detail photographs you have dreamed of.  The third way is to get all these items together in advance and have them in a bag or box ready for the photographer so you don’t have to search for anything.  Have it labeled “For Photographer” so it can easily be found.  Here’s a list of the different items your photographer will likely ask for while you are getting ready:

  • The rings: This means not just your engagement ring, but the wedding bands as well.  So often these are given to the best man the morning of the wedding, and the best man usually isn’t getting ready at the same location as the bride.  This results in frantic phone calls to the best man asking him to hightail it over to the location to bring over the rings, or promises of getting these shots later in the day.  The trouble is, as soon as the reception starts going, things get crazy, and most people don’t want to separate from their wedding bands after they have just had them put on.  Frankly, it’s often even hard to get them off.  So my number one piece of advice is do yourself a favor, have the rings WITH YOU, in their ring boxes for safe keeping.  They can be given to the best man minutes before the ceremony, and then he’ll be less like to lose them too.  Also remember to have your engagement ring cleaned before your big day.  Soap residue can ruin how sparkly a diamond can look in a photo.

If you don’t, this is the type of boring ring shot you will likely end up with…rings in the best man’s hand:

  • Jewelry and other special mementos:  All your finery that you will be putting on after your dress should be in one place.  This includes your earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, garters, hair combs, veil (if it wasn’t put in at the hair dresser’s), fancy perfume bottles, and any belts that go on your dress. Photographers will often come up with artistic ways of presenting these pieces in conjunction with say your shoes, or flowers, etc.  Other elements to consider are if you have special mementos that you will be carrying with you or are used in the ceremony, say your grandmother’s handkerchief, or your great aunt’s ring, your mother’s rosary, or your father’s bible. Having these extremely sentimental pieces photographed often yield some of the most treasured photographs from the day.  So be sure to have these safely set aside in the bag for your photographer as well.

  • Shoes: Depending on the bride, the shoes might be her very favorite accessory that day.  So photographers have taken to doing creative “shoe shots”.  If you have anything written on the bottom of the shoe that you want the photographer to get a shot of, be sure to let them know it is there.  In the short amount of time a photographer has to get the detail shots, they might miss that little blue crystal “I DO” on the bottoms of your shoes unless you remind them about it.  If the shoes are very expensive and came in a designer bag or box, you may want to keep them in their original box for the photographer to grab a shot of as well.  Either way, the shoes (in the box or not) should be placed in the bag/box with the rest of these key elements.

  • Invitation and program: you probably spent tons of time picking out beautiful stationary to use and created personalized programs.  These elements are great for use in albums for setting the stage for the day.  Bring with you at least one complete invitation, meaning the invite, envelope, any response cards, directions, confetti, etc.  For programs, bring at least 3, the photographer may want to fan them out.  Place these paper items, and anything else you’d want photographed say a menu, church bulletin with your names in it, etc, into a folder.  This way they will stay nice and crisp and clean and will not get beat up in transit to your wedding. After the photographer is done photographing them, you can keep them as mementos from your wedding.

  • Wedding license: while I don’t typically photograph these, some photographers do, and it is a good idea to put this in with your other paper items in the folder so you don’t forget it.  Some officiants are so by the book that they won’t even perform the ceremony unless the wedding license is present, so this is NOT something you want to forget at home or misplace.
  • Wedding Dress: Ideally you want to be able to have the dress out of the bag before the photographer arrives.  This way the dress can be checked for wrinkles, and loose threads.  But if the room is chock full of people, I suggest keeping the dress zipped up in the garment bag tightly until the photographer arrives and is ready to take shots of the dress.  The last thing you want that day is someone inadvertently burning your dress with a curling iron, or having a pot of eye shadow fall on it.

  • Flowers: This is the one part you unfortunately can’t put in a bag or a box in advance.  You will be a the whim of when your florist brings the flowers by.  But do keep in mind that the photographer would like to shoot at a minimum, the bouquet.  So be sure when speaking with your florist about delivery of the flowers, that if possible the bouquet is delivered to the room where you are getting ready, NOT to the ceremony location.  While some photographers will insist that all the flowers are delivered to where you are getting ready, it isn’t as important as having your own bouquet there.  If you are concerned about your bouquet wilting, if your bridesmaids bouquets are similar, have one of those delivered to the bridal suite instead and the photographer can use that to take shots with in its place.

If you have all these items put together in advance, your stress level will be much lower on the day of your wedding while you are getting ready, and your photographer will then have more time to get high-quality, artistic, detail shots that you will love.  One last tip, if you want to give your photographer even more time to get great shots, make sure to have your bridal party keep all their things to one side of the room.  Usually about 10 minutes of my time is spent clearing a room of bags, food, trash, luggage, and iPhone chargers, just to name a few, before I ever take a single shot in the room.

Here are a few more examples of detail shots you can have your photographer take while you are getting ready.



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